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November 03 2014

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The Cheapo's Guide To The Universe, Part #34

Just when you thought your super human grip strength was not going to extract any more paste from the tube, when you have squeezed and squeezed and nothing issued forth  - pure constipation - this is when you take a pair of scissors and cut the damn thing in half.  You would scrape three more days of use out of a standard 5 oz. tube of toothpaste.  That's 78 days instead of 75 days for me to go through a tube.  Let's say it costs $6 for a fancy brand of toothpaste with organic neem and no fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate.  Over a ten-year period, I will realize cost savings of a grand total of $11.23. That's almost enough for three pints of organic ice-cream on sale. That's good enough for me.  "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."  Yes, suck it all out.  That's what Thoreau meant.  

Reposted byPsycheen Psycheen

August 18 2014


There's No Sacred Cow

I just came across a New York Times article about Indian wildlife poachers going after smaller exotic animals (e.g. the Indian pangolin and the star tortoise) because their government has stepped up efforts to protect marquee endangered species such as tigers and rhinos. 

I make no presumption with respect to the religious leanings of these poachers, but it's fair to say that in a country that is predominantly Hindu, these folks are probably not trading in cow hide or beef jerky.  Is it not terribly ironic for a culture to have a designated sacred animal while other sentient beings are considered resources to be plundered? 

There is a collective disconnect when a prevailing religious observation or practice becomes a token act of fake virtue, divorced from meaning or even practicality.  A holy cow is as arbitrary as a holy chicken or a holy chipmunk.  If you recognize the cow as symbolic of the source of life and the sanctity of life, then you naturally respect all of life, and treat all animals humanely; you may choose to be a vegetarian, or you may choose to enjoy animal flesh without guilt.  Letting cows run around loose while other animals are being slaughtered - there's nothing worshipful about it, nor spiritually instructive.  It's pure superstition.  No animal is more holy or sacred than others.  The cows just got lucky.  Let these beautiful animals remind us of the life-sustaining gifts that we receive daily, so that we may pay it forward - with mercy.  

July 24 2014


Olfactory Nightmare

Last night I fell into a fitful sleep.  In the middle of the night, I had a dream.  The details are now fuzzy, but this much I remember: I heard my downstairs neighbor's labored grunts, as he's wont to issue when he's having a hard time evacuating his bowels.  Living in an apartment building with very poor sound insulation, I am familiar with this man's daily struggles with constipation.  I have lived with this for long enough that it hardly ruffles my zen-ity, but any visitor who's been to my apartment for more than a few hours would have heard snippets of his grueling bathroom undertakings (or otherwise his energetic masturbation) and succumbed to uncontrollable giggles. This man is loud. 

I'm not sure whether I actually heard him during my sleep and incorporated his grunts into my dream, or whether my subconscious mind dreamt up this whole soundtrack of arduous voiding.  Shortly thereafter, a whiff of something caustic and odiferous hit my senses so hard that it woke me up - as if smelling salts had been put under my nose.  In my dream, I interpreted the malodor as my neighbor's poop, though in fact it did not smell like fecal matter but something of an industrial nature, like a toxic chemical leak.  

I was wide awake and I knew that I did not shit my bed, nor was the building on fire.  Everything smelled normal.  I sniffed my sheets and my pillow - normal.  But as soon as I thought about my dream, I could smell it again - that burning, acrid, metallic smell that had somehow imprinted itself onto my consciousness.  I couldn't go back to sleep.  I was caught between trying to smell reality and having dream-state vapors assault my nose.  It was altogether rather shocking, and interesting, the vividness of this olfactory experience.  Usually my dreams are full of fantastical sights and sounds but hardly redolent of anything pleasant or foul.

I ended up dumping a quarter bottle of lavender essential oil all over myself.  Then I poured lemongrass essential oil on a votive candle, sat over it and inhaled for five minutes, trying not to set my hair on fire.  I left the candle burning and went back to sleep.  The rest of the night was uneventful.  But this was such a strange occurrence that I felt compelled to write it down.  I will attempt a scientific explanation in the second installment of this stinky tale!  

April 30 2014


Healing Or Repressing?

Ostracizing a man merely hardens him. Racism is borne out of an ignorance of the true nature of all beings. Of course, community as a whole needs to take a stand - and make a statement - that racial hatred is not an acceptable mode of thinking or being in American civil society. Now that we've all had a field day declaring our embrace of racial tolerance and harmony, and the NBA has excommunicated Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for his hurtful and racist remarks, I find myself pausing and wondering what this "healing process" is all about. We collectively have one task - to increase the sum total of loving-kindness in the world by reducing the hatred that one man holds in his heart. Does the current spate of grandstanding achieve any of this? It seems a little ironic that many of the same folks who believe convicted felons should be rehabilitated rather than locked up for life should be applauding with glee the punishment meted out to this man. I don't care for racial politics or rich people with their trophy sports teams. But I do hope that somewhere in Sterling's personal circle, someone would extend to him the gifts of friendship, compassion and love. Somehow, I don't think healing can happen without forgiveness.  
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